Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.
This all-important piece is being presented in first person stance due to it was much easier to produce from the cold-truth that accompanies the unknown workers who do these thankless jobs. Thank you, Kenneth.
This is a first for me. You see, I am a part of the unknown's with nameless faces we see every day that comes. And I have to be in the best mood for myself, but so the many painful throngs who count on me handing them (probably) the one meal of their day. And I have to keep a beaming smile hour and hour. Never show what adversity may be eating-away in my spirit.
Some, when they reading this essay will instantly say, that's life. I know that they were just fumbling for something supportive to say. I get that way each time I have to be in this mission house and try my best to make the painful smile if only for a dismal moment.
Yeah. That's life. But those two words depending on the viewpoint of the one who says this all too common remark. That's life. Yeah, and quite frankly, I am sick to death of hearing this dribble. Why couldn't the do gooder's dressed in thousand-dollar coats just offer, that's it, just offer to walk behind this food counter and ask to help just for a moment. Sure, I would be in shock, but what a warm feeling of true humanity I would carry at day's end.
My name isn't important. I saw you look at my name badge, but I do apologize for it being so brown and beaten-up. Ohhh, names? I know one name that is important. That is Mrs. Hollester. She's our boss and the manager of this homeless shelter. I like her. She always tries her best to keep us cheered-up and that is tough some times. But I reckon that she was destined to have this job. I can confess. I couldn't do this job thanks to the overwhelming pressure and stress? Are you serious?
Special People Produce Special Service
In case you want to recall my name, it's Brenda. My last name will not be remembered, and this is why I only give my first name. There are a lot of Brenda's in this life. I would tell you my real name, but why bother? Just as long as I can keep this food hot and able to give to that line that surfaces every day at 11 a.m., until 1 p.m. Who are the people who depend on me and the ones who wear plastic hair coverings? We do not ask. All we know is that people need food and these people do not know what the term, three meals a day, means. Have you ever walked that road?
I have. But that was several years ago. I was married once. No kids though. But he was a kind-hearted man. Worked hard Monday through Friday. But one day, he became restless and became uninterested with me, and I did not and could not look like model like those on TV, so he walked out of my life.
At first, I wanted to drink the hard stuff and I have to be honest. I tried whiskey a few nights and you know what? Just more shame. I grew sick of that. So I began a building project: myself. I wanted life that meant something. A life that what few friends I had would know that I loved others and did not care if I were loved. That sounded a fair trade.
I should tell you that when an outsider, no offense, comes into this establishment and watches my friends and I serve good, hot food for those who cannot afford food much less anything else. If you had to survive in a big refrigerator box somewhere in a dark, dangerous alley, how would you pay for a decent meal? I know. I didn't really understand this dilemma until years later
Is there really a silver lining in black clouds? I cannot give you an honest answer. But what I can tell you is how you view those black clouds. Many times the living established society never look beyond the darkness of these clouds.
And people like my co-workers and I step in to help put the pieces back together.
Writer's note: If you think that this piece is too clean, well, it is. The behind-the-scenes look is grease, grime, and grind during any given day. Depression, sadness, and a cold-hearted reflection of what was once happy people. And that is a creative look at the servers.
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© 2022 Kenneth Avery